Your car could cost you less than it currently does. Here are some money-saving tips:
- Minimize your speeding, and follow parking rules. Tickets are costly, and if you end up getting your insurance premiums increased, you'll suffer a double financial whammy. (Speeding also consumes more gas.)
- Be insurance-smart. Shop around and make sure you're paying as little as possible for your desired level of coverage. Progressive
(NYSE:PGR)and Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK-B)GEICO unit are good places to start looking. Also look into discounts for alarms, short commutes, or safety features. (Check our Insurance Center.)
- Spend some time comparing local gas stations and use the ones that offer the lowest prices. Take advantage of special deals that offer you a few cents off your gasoline on certain days. If your car doesn't need premium gas, don't use it. Check out GasPriceWatch, which can help you find low prices. You can also save gas by keeping your RPMs at lower levels. (Below 3,000 is a good target.)
- Spend some time finding a good and honest mechanic. Ask friends for referrals. Using a mechanic who inflates his rates -- or worse, recommends unnecessary work -- will cost you.
- Keep tires properly inflated, and rotate them on schedule.
- Take public transportation when you can. Or walk, when that's practical. Or carpool.
- Follow your car's recommended maintenance plan. Skipping oil changes and the like might save you a few dollars now, but it could cost you many more later.
- Before you rent a car, verify with your insurance agent whether your policy covers rental cars. If it does, you can say "no thanks" when the car rental agent asks whether you want to buy insurance coverage.
- Look into getting new tires at a discount store, such as Costco. The prices are often lower than elsewhere.
Many of these tips come from our Living Below Your Means discussion board, where you can drop by and find thousands of other tips, not to mention good conversation. If you're in the market for a new (or used) car, check out the Fool's how-to area on buying a car, or ask some questions on our Buying and Maintaining a Car discussion board.
Costco is a Stock Advisor recommendation and Berkshire Hathaway is an Inside Value recommendation. Fool sector head Joey Khattab updated this article, and he does not own any of the shares mentioned.